“If a good man called Deepak Rao was murdered, we can’t kill a man called Basheer is it?” Jagadish Shenva asked.

Whats wrong with killing Basheer Karnataka VHP leader justifies communal killingYouTube screengrab
news Hate Speech Monday, January 29, 2018 - 12:55

"If in retaliation to an innocent Deepak Rao’s murder, an innocent Basheer is murdered, definitely as a VHP (district) head, I really have no issues.”

These were the inciting words in a hate speech delivered by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s (VHP) Dakshina Kannada district president Jagadish Shenva. 

Jagadish was speaking at a book release function in Mangaluru, where he decided to justify the murder of Basheer – a 47-year-old Muslim man who was attacked and killed in Mangaluru allegedly in retaliation to the murder of Deepak Rao, a 27-year-old Hindu man. 

Deepak Rao and Basheer had nothing to do with each other. However, while the murders only fuelled the communal tensions in the region, the VHP leader chose to add fuel to the fire, and in fact called on Hindus to back those who chose to attack Muslims. 

“In retaliation to the murder of Deepak Rao, a man named Basheer was killed. In the media, they said an innocent… as the lawyer here said, they said a ‘good’ Muslim was murdered. I’m asking – before the ‘good’ Muslim was murdered, Deepak Rao (was killed.) Did Deepak Rao murder somebody? No. If in retaliation to an innocent Deepak Rao’s murder, an innocent Basheer is murdered, definitely as a VHP (district) head, I really have no issues,” Jagadish Shenva said. 

Comparing the situation in Mangaluru to the movie Padmaavat, he further said, “Just now, they said Padmaavat is a really good film. In that, thrice, he (Rawal Singh) said he will not kill (Khilji) because he doesn’t have a weapon… Thrice he let him off, and in turn he gets murdered (by Khilji). There are many such examples… We keep saying he’s innocent, he’s a good man… We’ve lost Prashanth Poojary, Kuttappa… Leave all that, (we lost) Sharath Madiwala! What did they do that they were killed?”

“Some random Ashraf got murdered, and in retaliation they can murder a good man it seems… In which case, if a good man called Deepak Rao was murdered, we can’t kill a man called Basheer is it? This is the question,” the VHP leader said. 

Further inciting his audience, Jagadish said, “Friends, let this come in the papers tomorrow. Let them put a case on us. We are ready for it. Because in society… The society is burning.. Definitely you and I can’t (do anything about it)… But… One section is ready to respond. And it is our community’s duty to protect them.”

Video clippings of Shenva’s speech were widely circulated on Facebook and WhatsApp groups in Dakshina Kannada and the police are yet to take legal action against him.

The VHP leader’s comments drew a sharp reaction from Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) State president Muneer Katipalla who demanded that police take action against him. “Police protection given to him should be removed and he should be arrested. Youngsters in Dakshina Kannada listen to people like him and kill, and get killed,” said Muneer.

Shenva was speaking in the wake of violent incidents in Dakshina Kannada that claimed the lives of two people.

Deepak Rao, a BJP activist was murdered in Katipalla on January 3 after he was waylaid and assaulted with a machete. To avenge his death, Basheer, the owner of a fast-food joint in Kottara Chowki in Mangaluru was similarly assaulted.

The police arrested two men each in connection with both killings.

The deaths of Rao and Basheer triggered panic in communally sensitive Dakshina Kannada. Dakshina Kannada has seen a number of communal flare-ups in the last few months resulting in the deaths of both Hindus and Muslims. It has also led to a political slugfest with the BJP claiming that 21 Hindu activists have been killed under the current Congress regime. 

The increase in violent incidents also comes close to state Assembly elections set for May this year. 

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